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Part 5: The department's response

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Capability Review process. This has been a valuable opportunity for the new department to take stock and assess our strengths and those areas to direct our attention to as we continue the establishment of the portfolio after a substantial Machinery of Government change in December 2011.

I would like to thank the Senior Review team and acknowledge the collective depth and understanding of the public service administrative experience they were able to bring to the project. This was particularly important to me given the breadth of the portfolio’s responsibilities.

Since the Department’s commencement in September 2010, we have been able to draw on better practice examples of leadership, governance and strategic planning from other public sector agencies. This presented a unique opportunity to ensure from the start that processes, people and systems would be aligned as much as possible to develop a sustainable, high performing agency with a strong and resilient culture. I am pleased the report acknowledged our ability to put in place, and to continue to develop, those key elements.

Developing innovative ways of doing business has been necessary for us with the Government’s revamped focus on regionalism, localism and place-based initiatives. We have taken on a lead co-ordination role for the Commonwealth in this area. Collaboration and engaging with stakeholders was seen as a strength of the Department and the report notes the excellent relationships we have with our partners who cover Commonwealth agencies, all state and territory governments, local government, Regional Development Australia Committees and key stakeholders in the arts and sports areas. This collaboration was seen as refreshing, genuine and supportive and has contributed to the innovative nature of our business.

The Department’s executive acknowledges the areas the report highlighted as requiring further capability development, particularly around continuing to keep our people motivated. I’m proud of the confidence, conviction and commitment of staff, as highlighted in the report. I am also keenly aware of the demands that have been placed on staff who have experienced significant set-up and Machinery of Government changes while delivering a substantial agenda for Government. Our Learning and Development Framework, released in late 2012, and the workforce plan, which is currently under development, will be central to continuing to motivate our staff.

Initiatives to address capability development opportunities highlighted in the report will be articulated in our action plan, and progress against this will be reported to the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC).


Glenys Beauchamp PSM
Secretary
Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport